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Impacts of Metal and Metal Oxide Nanoparticles on Marine Organisms

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Tony Baker


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Increasing use of metal and metal oxide nanoparticles [Me(O)NPs] in products means many will inevitably find their way into marine systems. Their likely fate here is sedimentation following hetero-aggregation with natural organic matter and/or free anions, putting benthic, sediment-dwelling and filter feeding organisms most at risk. In marine systems, Me(O)NPs can absorb to micro-organisms with potential for trophic transfer following consumption. Filter feeders, especially bivalves, accumulate Me(O)NPs through trapping them in mucus prior to ingestion. Benthic in-fauna may directly ingest sedimented Me(O)NPs. In fish, uptake is principally via the gut following drinking, whilst Me(O)NPs caught in gill mucus may affect respiratory processes and ion transport. Currently, environmentally-realistic Me(O)NP concentrations are unlikely to cause significant adverse acute health problems, however sub-lethal effects e.g. oxidative stresses have been noted in many organisms, often deriving from dissolution of Ag, Cu or Zn ions, and this could result in chronic health impacts.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Baker TJ

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Pollution

Year: 2014

Volume: 186

Pages: 257-271

Print publication date: 01/03/2014

Online publication date: 18/12/2013

Acceptance date: 14/11/2013

ISSN (electronic): 0269-7491


DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2013.11.014